lawyer turned road manager and nanny

highway run into the midnight sun

wow, sorry about that big gap in posting.  after about a month at home, we are now back on the road.  we arrived in portland, oregon today for four shows on the west coast.  after we finish here, we fly across the country to north carolina where we will go as far south as georgia and then make our way all the way up to vermont.

we learned a lot on our first tour – everything from what to pack, how to plan drives, how to most efficiently check-in at the airport, calling hotels a few hours before we check-in to make sure they have our specific requests met.  this last one has been particularly frustrating – no matter how many times i explain our requests to someone, it is never correct when we arrive.  i don’t think it has been right once.  not once.  how hard is: 5 rooms, 2 connecting or next to each other, the other 3 spread apart from one another – king beds, non-smoking.  that’s it.  not hard, right?

we run into the same problems with airline reservations and car rentals.  i book our flights on-line, enter all the frequent flyer numbers, assign seats, and then call the airline to add the babies to the reservation and pay the taxes associated with flying with babies.  you arrive at the airport, no frequent flyer numbers, two babies yes – but one is named sinn and assigned to a non-parent, and you can’t sit in the seats you picked because there aren’t enough oxygen masks for the babies on this type of aircraft.  and i can’t even start to describe what is like for us to go through security (p.s. winnipeg has the most intense security of any place i have ever traveled.  winnipeg, yes.)  the security experience is a separate blog post altogether.  then you finally arrive at your destination and go to pick up your car rental and they don’t have your corporate i.d. number and they’re not sure that they have the minivans you reserved.

all of this relates to a question i posed mama and papasquared on our way to the airport this morning – why is airplane travel so stressful?  i don’t get it – when i look at the big picture, it seems so simple and easy if all is planned correctly, but then when you are in the thick of it, it can be maddening.  as mamasquared listed all the details of what can go wrong – you miss a flight, your bags get lost, and therefore miss a show, you have an evil airline personnel exchange, you get stuck in the immigration office for hours – i had to ask her to stop, i could feel my anxiety rising.  in the end, it is just so hard because so much is out of your control.  no matter how much you prepare, it’s like throwing yourself into this huge improvised sh$t show.  of course, most of this is manageable if you travel alone, with one piece of luggage.  but if you travel with 8 pieces of luggage (3 of which are special handling), 1 car seat bag, 1 stroller, 2 car seats, 2 roller bag carry-ons, a ukulele, and a diaper bag…life is a different story.  i marvel at parents (usually moms) who i see in airports traveling alone with their kid – sometimes more than one kid.  how do they even go to the bathroom on the plane?!? that being said, there are many kind strangers out there – about 1/2 dozen people offered to help me today as i boarded planes holding a baby.  we’ve had people help collapse and then assemble the stroller, put our luggage in the overhead, offer to go get us food, etc.  woohoo for the kindness of strangers!

i’ve saved the best tidbit for the end of this post – after experiencing touring with the babies during the last tour, everyone decided it was time to give a tour bus a try.  so, when we reach north carolina, bus driver fred will be picking us up.  all you need to know about fred right now is that he drove a tour bus for journey last year.  this little factoid has sent us on a week long journey-singing binge.  we can’t stop ourselves.  we attempt to memorize lyrics, we watch youtube videos, we imagine what our journey music video would look like.  we even got some amused looks today and we strolled through the airport singing, “they say that the road ain’t no place to start a family.”

i’m forever yours….faithfully.

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2 responses

  1. Congratulations on the tour bus! Man, I hate flying too. Before the baby, I would have taken a long bus ride over a flight any day. Flying has just become a miserable endeavor. It’s so expensive — airport mark-ups will break your budget. You get treated either as a possible criminal or an intolerable pain in the butt.
    It’s slightly more tolerable now, because we don’t have a bus, and traversing long distances is better for everyone by plane…but man, if we had a bus…oh the ease of the road that would provide. Enjoy your journey! I can’t wait to hear about it.

    April 8, 2010 at 5:26 pm

  2. Jessica

    I have to agree that traveling alone through an airport with a child is constant work. In order to adequately navigate the security insanity, one must pack tons of carry-on stuff to keep the child entertained during the hours of standing around waiting. I did it once with a toddler, and recently with same child who is now 6 and a half.

    When he was younger, he needed more stuff – diapers, baby food etc. Now he needs entertainment. I caved and had a portable DVD and video game (separate items). Which just made the security process more ridiculous. And left him a zoned-out zombie while he played/watched the entertainment. But really, when you know you’ll be waiting for two hours, in a noisy crowded environment, options are limited. It’d be backbreaking to bring along enough books to read aloud for all of the time you spend sitting around – and even with a delightful 6 and a half year old, several hours of appropriate conversation just ain’t happening.

    Anyway, the sherpa stage will end, to be replaced by a new one. Such is the joy of traveling with kids. The good news is the kid reports really enjoying the travel and was in good spirits even when I was a complete stressball.

    Finally, congrats on the tour bus. It sounds like a brilliant solution to some of the travel headaches you’ve been having!

    April 9, 2010 at 4:39 pm

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